Golf Course Reviews
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Played a couple rounds from a combo set of tees 9/27 and 28, first time. Always well regarded by reviewers since the Gil Hanse (Rustic, Rio Olympics) renovation about a dozen years ago or so of a William Bell original, it deserves high praise as a municipal course, is a great value in terms of condition, challenge, and design. Nearby Ojai Valley Inn definitely has a real competitor for tourist golf, and the locals clearly prefer Soule. In fact I was hoping to play both, but it is very hard to get on the Inn course if not staying there, which I wasn’t, and my brief trip was not lessened a bit by the repeat at Soule. My wallet also was not lessened nearly as much!

This is a naturally beautiful course in a great mountain valley setting, terrific mountain backdrops are common but the course is not especially hilly and is very walkable, they even rent push trolleys and more players walk than don’t. The playing areas are in excellent shape, the rough is often thin but playable, plenty of trees but lots of openings from among them. The greens are pretty fast and quite undulating, definitely a pace and reading challenge. Ball marks are an issue; the greens are on the soft side of firm, they receive a lot of long shots. There is an excellent mix of hole lengths, at least one reachable par 5 for a decent ball striker, one long par 3, and one short par three with water, downhill, and into the prevailing wind. One long par 4 with a forced carry on the second shot. Several par 4s with elevated greens that make them play longer, also a couple excellent short par 4s. Almost all the holes reward knowledge of the angles, so the course gets more fun as it gets more familiar. 14 and 18 are quite beautiful, and several other holes also are very pleasing to the eye. The greens are small but have the thin lie closely mown surrounds that are a Hanse staple ( as at Rustic). No frills, and some of the non-playing areas are pretty bare, but the golf course and the setting are the only frills needed. The course is fair in the landing areas, but the angles and small greens offer plenty of challenge. It gets a lot of play from learning golfers, but POP was decent for a crowded course, 4.25 and 4.5 despite all the walkers and newbies. I rank this a must play if you are anywhere near the area, and very worth a special trip.

The carts do not have GPS, but marked sprinkler heads always seemed nearby if my handheld had trouble with the background. 4 sets of tee markers, but also two combo sets of tees give everyone a good place from which to play to the design. The range is adequate, the mats seem to be changed reasonably regularly, but the balls need more rotation. Putting green is okay, but almost no straight putts. There is a small practice bunker and very short chipping green that is hard to find, so ask if interested. There is a quasi-starter from inside the pro shop; both days I felt like I was the only one around with a watch, they were running a full tee time behind but seemed totally unaware inside the pro shop, and so there was confusion on the first tee each day. They are working on the restaurant, so if that is important to you, check ahead to see when it is open.

Soule Park really is good for the soul. Highly recommended.
10 Likes.
Played Maderas 8/20 from the whites. Challenging and enjoyable with great mix of yardages available on the scorecard, this is a very expensive round of golf on a very well maintained course with many elevation changes and a lot of challenges for those who cannot keep the ball in the fairway off the tee. Whether the green fee is worth it depends on how much you are comfortable spending in exchange for excellent conditions, beautiful edges, and nice “mountain” views (as opposed to ocean views). My comparison is to Pelican Hill, basically the same place and vibe, but Pelican has spectacular ocean views and 2 courses. Like Pelican, Maderas offers plenty of variety that would make it a great place to play regularly if you can afford it.

Everything about the course was in excellent condition, including the recently lightly sanded greens rolling a little slower than usual but very true. A fair amount of undulation on the greens, often confusing because of the surrounding hills, but knowledge gained with regular play will be rewarded. Same with approach distances. Fair landing areas but little room for error on the sides off the tee—“rough” is more trouble than long grass. Many very interesting holes, you can see it all in front of you but not much is just a straight route to the green, yet no tricked-up holes despite the hillsides on which one often is playing here.

Staff is friendly and helpful, nice pro shop, did not try the food, cart girl was seen four times. Pace of play actually better than one might expect given the trouble on the edges. I had a mediocre ball striking day especially off the tee but managed to stay in the fairway and scored reasonably for a first time round on a course with a learning curve.

Excellent practice range and separate short game area with several target greens and bunkers. But can someone tell me why a short game area with lots of room so seldom allows for fairly straight chipping practice? The short game area greens here are small and moundy and the edges also are very undulating, can’t really calibrate very well. But maybe that’s just me. Practice bunkers really good. Still, a very good place to practice one’s entire game.

First impression highly favorable. I will play here again when in the area. It is a fun, fair, challenge in lovely surroundings, but too steep a price for regular visits.
12 Likes.
Played two days straight 8/19 and 8/20 and had fun because, well, golf, but the course is in only fair to poor condition. Greens were okay, tee boxes okay, traps actually good, but everything else was disappointing; numerous bare spots throughout the fairway and especially the rough. The routing is decent with some good variety, and even when thin the fairway was okay to hit from, but one par 5 is reduced to a par three and it is just hard to overlook the severely compromised fairways, especially if playing well. An unfortunate and unsightly drainage ditch interferes unreasonably with the tee shot on 1 and the second shot on 18, magnifying the feeling that the course is just run down. Golf carts without GPS just add to that feeling. The pro shop people and starters were great. Very poor driving range shared with a private club next door whose lush green fairways beckoned enticingly. Worst mats I have hit from in a very long time, and useless targets.

Overall cannot recommend the place. I stayed here two nights on a separate non-golf trip, and the rooms match the course—tired and run down and ragged around the edges. This entire place needs a serious facelift and upgrade. Maderas is nearby and expensive, but at least there you can understand the fee. Right now Rancho Bernardo Inn should pay you to play its course. Or just close it down and get it fixed.
10 Likes.
Finally was able to make a GK outing Aug 16, and had a blast. Was grouped at random with others who had zero connections to one another except for GK membership, and my fellow GKers did not disappoint. Would have had a great time with them anywhere, but Valencia CC made it all the more enjoyable.

Valencia CC feels like a “classic” metropolitan area course—interesting routing and a variety of holes, lots of trees, strategic off the tee, walkable, and relatively small greens with several surprises for the uninitiated. One other surprise is the amount of water on the course, as there are several holes where it comes into play and at least one where you can’t see it until perhaps too late. Overall this is a course that begs you to play it again because good scoring is available on a good ball striking day once you know your way around. But there is plenty of challenge even for the big hitters. I used every club in the bag on a pretty good ball striking day. It is easy to understand why this course has hosted the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour on several occasions. I finished the day wanting to play again and to inquire about membership despite its distance from my home. Definitely could be worth a regular drive.

The course is in very good shape overall, the one bad mark being the rough, which was fairly thin and often downright dirt alone. It appears to me that the Superintendent has dealt with dry conditions by focusing water where it is most needed, the fairways and greens and tees and especially the landing areas and green surrounds. For example, fairways often were a bit brown and thin just off the tee and on the edges and then into the rough, but good shots were rewarded with excellent turf for the next strike. And while missing the fairway off the tee often gets you into some trees, there were good exit options available from easy to risky. The same was true on approaches, as many greens clearly have red light and green light areas that would be fun to learn over time. Green surrounds were lush and challenging. Basically every shot makes you think.

The greens were exceptional despite having recently been lightly sanded. They rolled quite true and on the fast side of medium speed; they ordinarily must be pretty fast. Good putts were rewarded. Most of the green contours are straightforward, but a few are quite diabolical with buried elephants and severe runoffs; these impacted approaches more than putts, there a few greens that are really difficult to hit and hold without advance awareness and precision. I made more 8-10 footers that I usually do, and a couple long putts as well. Even some longish irons held the receptive greens. Very impressive greens overall despite the recent sanding.

As mentioned, the rough was in, well, rough shape in a lot of places, very thin to non-existent turf. I think this is a choice due to water conservation, and a good choice of one has to be made. The tees were flat and in fine shape.

I practiced/warmed up elsewhere because I knew the range would be crowded, but the range appears to be adequate with grass and mats available. I did not see a dedicated short game area. The practice putting green is large and consistent with the greens on the course, and has plenty of places to practice straight putts and speed (which many practice greens surprisingly lack).

It also is notable that pace of play was very good despite having two groups start on every hole. We started on 18 as the “B” group, a par five with several hills and valleys and potentially two blind shots, so that first hole was quite slow to finish, but after that we made it around quite comfortably and finished about 4.5, kind of amazing for as full as the course was.

Final comment is that I was pleased to know that so many GKers and Golf Mooseheads are great course custodians: Fairway divots we’re mostly filled and ballmarks on greens were virtually all repaired.

Congrats to Johnny GK and to Golf Moose for a great event, and many thanks to Valencia CC and its members for letting us all give their excellent course a try. I welcome the chance to play there again, this is the sort of course that rewards yet still challenges regular play. Good players here could take their game anywhere.
8 Likes.
Played the Hanse combo tees Monday Aug 9. Course in fine shape overall, but beginning to show some effects from dry spring and summer, quite a few bare spots around the edges and creeping into the fairways. I also played poorly, so saw more of those edges than usual! Greens are in great condition but running pretty slow. Because of the way the course is laid out and the number of walkers, a fast round here is 4:15 with 4.5 more normal and 4:45 not unusual—but this Monday it was 5+ and slow from the get go at 11:30. Hard to say what the issue was other than lots of play. I applaud walkers and love that myself, and this course is quite walkable except for the very long distances from green to tee on a third of the holes. This really does tend to slow play except for the regulars who know how to stay ahead. That and a range in fairly poor condition prevent Rustic from my top tier, but it is an excellent value and a very unique course without being quirky. Recommended but plan for a long day regardless of your game. And this is not a beginner or high handicapper friendly course.
12 Likes.
Third time playing Tierra Rejada since moving to TOaks a year ago. Rode the blues as a mid afternoon single.

I REALLY want to like this course, it is 8 minutes away, but after giving it several chances I now feel I can write a fair review and say this really is not a very good golf course. It feels like a long miniature golf course, missing only the clown’s mouth. Nice staff, nice grill, good practice facilities on grass with a bunker and separate chipping area and expansive practice green. Bunkers are really good, great sand. 13 and 14 are two of the prettiest holes you ever will see, I believe the stream on the left side of 13 is new and it is beautiful. I give the groundscrew credit, the drainage issues alone must be a nightmare, but the place is in pretty good condition overall under what I am sure are challenging conditions. But none of these positives, even taken together, makes up for the serious deficiencies of the course overall.

First, I first played the course when the pandemic was new and supposedly you could not take a cart. So I walked it. This course is not walkable. At all. I honestly can’t believe they let anyone try. Turns out you just had to ask and they would give you a cart. But the point is that this course is on the side of a high hill with constant severe elevation changes that make for several silly holes with several hundred feet of drop between tee and fairway. One such hole on a layout is fun, several make it gimmicky. And some severe uphill holes create blind shots into the green. For example, 10 is a long uphill par 4 with a totally unnecessary false front on the raised green you already can’t see. All of this also contributes to slow pace of play, though today wasn’t bad at all. But I want to play at a place that I could walk if need be some languid late afternoon. Not happening here.

Second, four of the first five holes have blind shots. 1 is a long par five with a hidden pond on the high ground by the green, invisible until you have already hit your third shot unless you hit two career opening shots. 2 is a tight par three you can see, but the next several holes all have blind shots. Even if familiar with the course, you have to walk or ride ahead to try to aim your second shot if not the tee shot. Like the very severe elevation changes, a blind shot or two in 18 holes is okay, but this is borderline ridiculous and occurs later on the course as well. It might be more manageable if the carts had GPS, but they don’t, which is really kind of hard to believe these days generally, but is ridiculous on this course.

Next, there are several holes, especially on the back 9, where the tee shot feels like you are hitting directly into the adjacent hole’s golfers coming toward you. It feels like the course once had fewer holes and they squeezed a few more in to make 18. That said, there a couple wide open tee shots and then several very narrow ones. 18 is a par five that feels like it was just shoved in against the hillside, and doglegs both ways; 17 is a 100 yard very downhill par 3 that also feels like it was shoved in to make 18.

The card shows a combo set of tees, but blues are almost 6600 and the combo drops down to 6100. The place really needs something in between those two lengths, they could easily fix that with a different tee selection on the combo set of tees.

The course feels contrived, and is difficult mostly because of design flaws, IMHO. I don’t t mind difficult if my good shots are mostly rewarded, but here good shots often are u reasonably penalized. 9 is a long par five with a false front AND a HUGE ridge in the center of the green, neither needed to defend the hole, and both unreasonably penalize a good third shot—hard os one thing but a course should not rely on luck. Some quirky courses have a charm that grows on you over time, but I can’t see this happening here. There are too many good courses in this area to spend one’s time here. The staff deserves an A for effort, but this design is just untenable.
11 Likes.
Hit Rustic Canyon for the second time in 6 months. This course is the gem it promises, though many might find it frustrating the first time around because a lot of its details are hidden until you see them from up close—lots of gunch areas that are hard to decipher until you get past them. And the closely mown green surrounds take a little getting used to, those tight lies near the green offer options but require a deft touch. But surely there are no better course designs and conditions for the muni green fee. This place genuinely deserves all the praise it gets.

This is a walkable course and many do walk it, but there are some real slogs between green and tee, especially on the back 9. The walk from 9 green to 10 tee is the Bataan Death March, and there are several close second challenging treks to come. All of this leads to a pace of play issue. The 4.5 hour pace rating is deserved and almost entirely attributable to those 4 or 5 long distance non-playing walks. The good news is that regulars who walk there know how to stay ahead. Newbies, not so much. Also, from 8 to 16 is almost all heading uphill, gently but taxingly. The first time I played and walked I was too gassed to really appreciate the course. My recommendation is to walk the front and ride the back; the green fee is low enough to make $25 to ride 9 holes affordable. Just a thought.

The course routing is interesting. There are five par fives and five par threes. As noted, there are a lot of gunch areas splitting fairways or forcing carries. There is little elevation change on the front 9, but is well used to the extent it is there, and the back 9 has some good uphill and downhill greens. Some raised greens, some not—there is a lot of variety. Long and short par threes. One or two par fives that long hitters might reach, and both long and shorter par 4s. Shorter hitters can take advantage of the closely mown green surrounds to get extra roll, and the greens, while not unduly undulating, do have some subtle slopes that require good ground approaches. It is just a real good design, nothing seems contrived and you have to think your way around.

I played about 10 days after the greens were punched, so they were slower than usual but rolled true. The greens usually are faster than is common on tracks that get a lot of play, and can make for a real challenge on approaches and long putts. A few greens have tiers or buried elephants, but they are fun to maneuver around as local knowledge grows. The course’s signature are the closely mown green surrounds; very unusual and a nice bow to links courses, these surrounds present both challenges and opportunities. Also very interesting to look at, and the greens themselves are smaller than they appear but you can use a putter from a long way off most greens. It is a neat touch, and I don’t know anywhere else like it.

The course is very mindful of the natural environment, and nothing looks manufactured. The bunkers have natural edges, and good sand even in waste areas. The course has no frills, but doesn’t need them—it is like your countryside neighbor made a golf course out of fallow fields, but with very good fairway grass, especially considering no water holes/reservoir and the amount of play. The superintendent clearly is focused on maintenance of the playing areas, and seems very much on top of that.

The range is basic and in below average shape. I recommend practicing/warming up at the Golf Development Center off the 23 about 10 minutes away. Best mats in SoCal. (That place deserves its own review, it is five stars for sure.). The practice putting green is an extension of the 18th green, and is fine.

The scorecard includes a rated combination course, so overall length options abound.

Pro shop is very basic, but the staff is excellent there and in the separate cart barn if you decide to ride. Not much in the way of food, but enough.

I am still thinking about this course a day after playing it for the second time. And fondly. I can’t wait to return, and likely will become a regular here. You have to plan ahead for a tee time, but that is true almost everywhere these days.
7 Likes.
Made the drive up to Sandpiper for the first time in about 15 years. Can’t believe I didn’t try it again sooner after moving to Thousand Oaks, this course is well worth the drive.

First, the course makes extremely good use of its seaside location. After the first few holes and until the last few, every hole is either on or along or starts or ends with a great view of the ocean. In this respect it is better than Pelican Hill or Trump National and certainly Monarch Beach.

The course starts with some bland holes, but quickly gets to the waterfront and the fun really starts on the back 9. Several very memorable holes, many challenging but not unreasonably so—this is not a difficult course but it does have its challenges and rewards course management. When the wind is up I am sure some holes are quite difficult. Nice practice green for putting and chipping, the range is small and often closed, so call ahead of you plan to warm up or practice there.

Next, the fairways and greens and tee boxes are in excellent shape, the greens are true and on the fast side with some very subtle downslopes that can make for long second putts. Some of the fairways are truly lush, others not as completely so, but overall in very good shape and the ball generally sits up nicely. Tee boxes are fine. Everything else on the course is left to nature. No frills in the surrounds, which sometimes give off a shabby vibe, but then you see that they simply devote time and care to the playing areas and let the rest be cared for by nature. They even use natural sticks from the grounds to mark the tees and to hold up ropes for GURepair areas, a really subtle but fun natural touch. The bunkers have average sand and not much depth, so beware too steep a sand swing. The “clubhouse” and pro shop are very basic, again no frills, very understated for the spectacular property. Excellent service from checking in to cart barn.

The course is walkable, but only for the hearty; there are several severe elevation changes and wind would make it a real slog. But it is doable, no long treks from green to tee.

This place is 100% about golf. This is surprising given the neighborhood, and delightfully so. Anyone can have fun on this course and make a decent score, but still some good challenges for the better player. I can’t wait to return, but tee times need to be booked well in advance. I expect to start making my own plans earlier because this place is well worth the drive.
15 Likes.
Finally have had a couple chances to play Rams Hill related to business and family trips to San Diego. The drive is long and difficult but beautiful; the course is in poor to fair condition due to a fairway fungus, but still in good enough shape to play fairly and has very good greens and excellent traps and lovely surrounds; Borrego Springs itself is an experience one should not miss; and the club’s Stay and Play offerings are top notch and the club is extremely helpful in making quality arrangements at a fair price. I can’t wait to play it when it is in the condition for which it is famous.
I played the blues at about 6400 yards, I would encourage the club to create a combo that is 6600 and thus 200 fewer than the copper tees; several par 4s are just out of rational range for me from those 6800 yard copper tees. With winter rules in effect due to some severe bareness throughout the course due to a fungus suffered a few months ago, it was not hard to find good grass from which to hit when necessary, and on a few holes (4 stands out) one could see the usual excellent and lush conditions. I also played twice in very high winds, which was annoying but still fun because the routing is excellent with a great mix of hole lengths and hazards. I spoke with the superintendent and he promised everything will be back in excellent condition for the fall reopening. The overall care and attention to detail is still evident in the surrounds, despite the fairway fungus issue. Can’t wait to see it in top shape.
The bunkers are excellent, and fairly placed; always had a way out, and good shots did not go in at random. The greens are very good and the breaks less than they appear, good putts are rewarded. There is no trickery on this course and you can see it all in front of you. Several long par 4s require a good short game if you miss the greens with a long club in, but the green complexes and surrounds are fair and give you a fair chance to get up and down. Overall the course is challenging but fair and quality shots are rewarded consistently.
The range is very good and includes a bunker and good target options. Not to be missed is a cart drive to the north end of the range, where an excellent bunker and chipping area awaits, rarely used but really a great touch for anyone who likes to practice.
The staff are outstanding. And the free tacos at the halfway house and the free cookie at the end of the round are a nice touch. The grill and bar are very good. Some argue they serve the best breakfast in town.
Stay and play offerings abound for groups of all sizes and even for a single or double, right at the course property. Just down the road is an old school resort, La Casa del Zorro, which is a mini La Quinta Resort with many different room offerings to accommodate all sorts of groups and a plethora of pools; they work with the golf course on stay and play offerings. The Bistro restaurant there has a fantastic menu and a superb cook, outstanding eating. Stanlund’s Inn and Suites is also an old school and less expensive good choice a little closer to town, with some rooms with kitchenettes. The town is old desert, no fast food chains but several good places to pick up groceries or to dine. The surrounding desert is really a sight to see, and the many metal sculptures throughout the local desert give the place a touch all its own. Stargazing is breathtaking, it is a “Dark Sky” community and, well, wow.
The drive is a challenge but well worth it. Coming over the mountains from the west is a slowish and windy trip but worth every glance out the window, and the drive down the mountain into the town is exciting stuff.
This is a golf course I could play over and over again and I plan to do so. It is perfect for a 3 golf day trip. Worth the drive. Kind of a must play in my book. Can’t wait to return, sad it has to be shut down all summer, but yeah, really too hot.
15 Likes.
Returned to Sand Canyon 11/25 to play the Mountain nine (paired with Valley) because I never had played it. I enjoyed it and found it comparable to Desert in that it has some narrow spots, is a little shaggy here and there, and again has some trees that interfere with tee shots, i.e., overhanging the tee box, which is like dreams I have where I can’t find a place to tee the ball. An odd lack of maintenance quirk. Mountain is very heavily treed generally, many very mature oaks throughout the nine holes. There is water on a couple holes but not in play, almost can’t even see it. No idea why they call it “Mountain” and why the Valley 9 is called “Valley,” both end with some elevated tees on a hillside.

Greens, fairways, bunkers, rough, surrounds consistent with the other two nines—tee boxes on Mountain were a little more uneven and divoted, and a couple greens had some damaged areas being worked on, but overall the greens roll well and don’t have a lot of undulation. Small to medium sized greens like the other 2 nines. Like Desert, Mountain can be narrow off the tee, and trees come into play even on some good drives if you are on the wrong side of the fairway or greenside. Like the other 9s you will lose a lot of balls if you are not in reasonable control of your drives. Fairway lies generally quite good, bunkers very good, rough spotty, surrounds very shaggy and often bare.

POP was 1.5 on Mountain, but Valley 9 was 3 hours on a fairly busy day before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The practice putting green has now been cut and is rolling well despite some patchy spots with some weird grass. I did not use the range, but it looks very mediocre to me, the mats are basic and worn. It also was crowded, clearly gets used by locals for practice alone, not just by players that day. There is no short game or bunker practice area that I could find.

Now that I have seen all three 9s, I rate Sand Canyon as a good but not great place to play. The courses are ordinary, the unique features like some very elevated tees and trees in the fairways and the like seem contrived. Range is muni-like, pro shop is very good, personnel are very good, and the ownership seems to be focused on the right things on the course but the course really needs help on its expansive surrounds, their shabbiness detracts from the overall look and feel. Valley is clearly the best of the three 9s, and seems to get the most play. I suspect a Desert/Mountain combination would be an excellent pace of play on most days and a fun outing when one is hitting it straight off the tee and wants to focus on iron play. Any of the 9s would be a good place to tune up for an eastern or Midwestern trip because of the trees, even on “Desert.”
10 Likes.
Played Desert/Valley today 11 am as a single, from the blues. Haven’t played here for years, since the old Robinson Ranch days. I am glad I came back.

Very friendly and easy check-in, nice pro shop, but oddly does not have a GHIN computer. I had 11:30 tee time on Valley/Desert; shop suggested Desert was wide open and to go ahead early and reverse the two nines unless I wanted to join someone, so off I went. Had Desert to myself, played in 1:15, which then had me run into traffic on Valley, but still played that 9 in 1:45. I like a club that can look at what is happening on the course and let people freewheel a bit. Course overall was not very busy, though.

I did not use the range, but it is mats and a little worn. Supposedly has a short game area, I will report next time. The once incomparable practice putting green is clearly under repair, quite shaggy, not sure why it is even open at all, not a good introduction to the course.

Carts had ball washers and ice chests, and an ice machine is available and a free bottle of water was given out, but no GPS on the carts. Ball washers and ice chest and GPS should be required, but can’t think of the last time I got all three anywhere! With all the portable laser finders and GPS systems available, I guess I would rather have the washer and ice chest. I used free “GolfPad” app and it worked perfectly. Carts also had a plastic divider between seats—a first for me, annoying, but whatever. On the other hand, there were no cup shallowing inserts; the Marshall told me people were stealing them (WTF?) so they just removed them all. Pro shop staff had masks—most golfers and the Marshall did not. (I don’t care about any of this stuff, it is all overkill to me but I can live with it. It does point out the almost total randomness of the rules, though; they are all over the lot from course to course even within the same county.). No cart girl at least today (a Monday).

The Desert 9 is narrow and heavily treed, on some tee boxes the adjacent trees actually block the tee shot. Weird, but not a big deal. This is not a difficult course if you can regularly find the fairway. The Valley 9 is wider off the tee, also well treed. Again, not a difficult course, but there are some angles to get familiar with. Both these 9s feature some big elevation changes and each has a ninth tee tee high above the fairway; the Valley’s 9th has an infamous large oak tree in the middle of the fairway off the elevated tee, and it is a bad feature, is just too large and right in the center and right in the landing area for all but the longest hitters. Like a putt putt feature. Neither course has water, each has a dry barranca or two to cross at one or two points. I used almost all my clubs, and each has a par 4 on which driver might not be the play from the tee. Each has a long par three, 200+ on the Desert side from the blues. If you are not hitting well off the tee, you will lose some golf balls, the areas surrounding the fairways are pretty impassable.

These 2 nines overall can best be described as ragged around the edges but generally lush in the landing areas, with high quality greens. The surrounds of the course are in very poor shape, lots of dead and bare dirt areas, but then few of these are in play; they just don’t give the course a luxe appearance. The fairways have some poor spots here and there, but generally not in normal or intended playing areas, and if you are hitting it straight and well, you generally find nice and often lush turf. The tee boxes are pretty beat up, some a bit uneven and shaggy, but not a big deal other than aesthetically. The greens are in very good shape, they are relatively fast and very true, especially around the cup (no Dave Pelz “lumpy donut” to knock your ball off line as it nears the hole). But the greens also have very little undulation; I haven't had this many dead straight putts, well, ever. The green surrounds are lush and present a fair challenge. The bunkers have a dull, ugly sand but there is enough sand to give you a fair chance at getting out with a normal effort. No rakes (COVID), but the carts have sand/seed mixtures for filling divots, a first for me since the pandemic. (See above re the randomness of the rules.)

It appears they are putting money into the course where most important at present, the playing areas. One example of raggedness is the hole signage—they are really worn and have an abandoned look. The Desert 9th still has a sign for “Valley 18th,” which is a bit confusing for a newbie here. But the surrounds and little touches are not a priority, while the greens and fairways and some tree planting seem to be—appropriate if funds are limited and they seem to be. The course has a long way to go to support a “resort” as is planned, but the bones are there. If Industry Hills could do it, they can do it here as well, though these two 9s are not as good as Industry Hills in terms of design. I would also note with appreciation that they did have a Marshall out and he spent his time filling divots and fixing ball marks, which all marshalls should be doing everywhere they exist. I would say, so far, this is a well run operation and worthy of support.

There are nicer looking courses (and surrounds) for the money, and some much less expensive, but I would say this is a reasonable value and I definitely will return, perhaps regularly. I never played the “Mountain” 9 even in the course’s prior iteration, and am eager to try it.
10 Likes.
Played the blues Fri 8/14 at 12:30, POP 4.5 hrs, only slow on last three holes. Always a group trying to reach 17 from the tee. Otherwise would have been 4 hrs, not bad for a tough track on a very hot day and a pretty full tee sheet. Turf in excellent shape, greens very good but never are very fast, always lots of ball marks to repair. This is a high end daily fee course that always gets some groups having an outing with a couple golfers who probably should not be playing there and they always are playing the wrong tees. Tends to slow things down a bit, and there are three places the course backs up when busy (3, 6, and 17). Wide fairways but almost no room for error off the tee, if you miss it is likely a lost ball. Range is open, but not the putting greens or short game area. Efficient check in, Snack bar open and has balls and gloves, everything else closed. Challenging course with fun routing—flat and walkable but not allowed, which is a shame. Expense does not seem to limit play, usually pretty busy esp weekends, 5 hour rounds the norm. Sometimes during the week you can catch an opening and get around in 3.5 or so, esp if willing to jump a hole or two to get past the three and four-somes here and there. Twosomes very common here. Tight-looking lies but turf has give, they dont overseed. Rough is narrow but lush and green complexes have good thick grass around them. They filled the bunkers a few months ago and they are very playable. Wind can be a factor on some holes, but rarely really blowing hard. Sans COVID, they have frequent cart service and a great 19th hole grill and bar. Clubfitter on site (Pat Dempsey), and good instruction available. “Membership” deals but you can also just hang your handicap there as I do for a slight cost above the SCGA fee. Range deals as well. A very well run operation with nice people and a challenging course in excellent condition year round. I never am disappointed there, except sometimes with my play.
10 Likes.
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